Daan Roukens

In the run-up to his new art series ‘I Could Save The World Problems, If I Cared’, we had a small interview with Daan Roukens about his work, his development as an artist, and his blog ‘No Rest For The Obsessed’.
Tell us, who you are and what you do for a living?

I am Daan Roukens, artist and founder of an online platform called ‘No Rest For The Obsessed’. I graduated in Fine Arts, at the Art Academy St. Joost in Den Bosch. My art expresses itself mainly in abstract and minimalistic work. I am fascinated by patterns, colors and compositions, that I express through many different styles such as paintings, murals, installations and design.

How did you end up being an artist, and was it a natural path?

Looking back, it has been a very natural path, my mother is also an artist and my father has his own business. From an early age I’ve adopted a lot of both sides, their passion for both professions reflect in my current lifestyle. As an artist, you are also an entrepreneur and ‘No Rest For The Obsessed’ is a private company.

You also manage the online platform ‘No Rest For The Obsessed’. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

‘No Rest For The Obsessed’ is an extension of my creativity. It’s a place online where I share my inspirations and artwork. I write about everything that inspires me to create new work and how it relates to my work. This differs from fashion, design, art and photography to events and exhibitions. I also think it’s important to inspire my readers and to provide a platform for other brands, companies and artists by selecting specific content.

Describe your creative process, creating an art piece from scratch to end?

The process is very important for me while working on new art. It usually starts with a combination of colors or patterns and it comes from anywhere, while painting, browsing the web, by seeing clothes or just something I see on the streets. Mostly, they’re various ideas coming together, being the first steps in creating new work. During this design process, new shapes occur and I’m constantly developing my work until the moment when my feeling tells me it’s done. While painting, this creative process is mainly produced by painting layer upon layer. Adjusting the pattern, colors and shapes happens intuitively and by experimenting. It’s a constant developing process, a search for balance, but also towards its limits.

Your most recent work is called ‘I Could Save The World Problems, If I Cared’. What can you tell us about this series?

This is my first series in which I’ve transformed the process of painting into digital work. By painting layer over layer and adjusting the transparency, the patterns and intensity differs. Again, the experiment is an important factor and I’m constantly searching for the balance between color, patterns and composition. I often use phrases as titles, which refer to my work as an artist. In this case it’s not about lack of caring about world problems, but about my work that is separated of political and social beliefs. It’s about the work, and working towards a visual, which is a way of telling my own story to the world.

Daan Roukens’ patterns.

Your work can also be found at Saatchi Gallery, how did your work end up there?

I think it’s important that my work is visible in many places and layers of society. Saatchi Gallery is an online platform for artists and one of the most important art venues in the world, it’s great that a part of my work is visible there.

Nevertheless, I always believe that, for example paintings, come out best in real life instead of online. But as an artist you have to keep up with the times and always make sure people will see your work.

Where do you catch your inspiration?

Everything. For example, the painting ‘The World Is Yours’ is inspired by the colors of fruit sprinkles on bread with butter. During lunch in the summer, I saw how these colors blended with the butter so I thought ‘I have to do something with this!’. I wrote it down and used it later, after many combinations and experiments it finally ended up being an artwork.

'Adjusting the pattern, colors and shapes happens intuitively and by experimenting. It’s a constant developing process, a search for balance, but also towards its limits.'
— Daan Roukens
Do you have any role models you look up to?

I don’t like to elevate certain people up into heroes. But I like to be inspired by other artists, certain brands and friends.

What kind of music do you like to work to?

Especially when I’m painting , I listen to a lot of music; it improves my concentration. When I’m online, catching up on inspiration, I often listen to Soulection Radio, Gilles Peterson and 22Tracks. I also put on some other music in my studio, which can be something from hip hop to metal, from jazz to classical, rock to world music. As long as it’s good music.

Can you name a song that has changed your life in a positive or negative way?

Positive; pretty much everything by Jimi Hendrix, I can always listen to that! Infinite creativity, authenticity, the skills, he has it all.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Crosstown Traffic.

What song or album have you recently bought or downloaded, and why?

It was given to me to be honest; The One Third EP by rapper Maydien. In return for some support on our blog.

What is the last movie or series you’ve seen, and why?

I can’t wait for The Walking Dead to continue. I like those post-apocalyptic stories, where nothing is certain.

What websites do you visit regularly?

It’s Nice That, Designboom.com, Hypebeast, the189, Booooooom, iGNANT,AvantGarde – Diaries, etc.

What work or project do you consider your personal masterpiece?

I haven’t made my masterpiece yet.

What brands or agencies would you like to team up with in the future?

There are many brands which I would like to collaborate with in the future, I think it’s beautiful and interesting to connect different cultures and styles. For example, working on an installation with Converse and Nike certainly emerges the combination between art and the product. But a fertile collaboration with a smaller brand is also great of course.

Talking about the future, what are your plans?

Developing myself, artistically, and creating more beautiful work. In addition, expanding NRFTO as a cultural platform .

Last one, who should we interview next?

I’ll leave that up to you.